Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Goal-oriented processes: Exploring the use of goals in music therapy to support young people with autism spectrum disorder

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posted on 2021-11-15, 17:29 authored by Lowery, Oliver

This qualitative research project explored how a student music therapist utilised goal-oriented processes to support young people with autism spectrum disorder throughout their course of music therapy. Inductive thematic analysis of selected literature relating to goals in music therapy developed an initial framework of what goal-oriented processes could include. The student music therapist’s clinical data (including session notes, monitoring sheets, client reports and reflective journal entries) was then coded through deductive secondary analysis, from which five key themes were formed. The findings indicated that clients’ goals were supported by: employing a client-centred philosophical approach; nurturing therapeutic relationships; collaborating with clients and their caregivers; utilising the referral, assessment and review processes; and observing and documenting clients’ development. These goal-oriented processes helped to support goals that were meaningful for the clients and their caregivers. Themes were explored in detail using a case vignette to illustrate and provide a context for the findings. Although the context-bound qualitative nature of this research project limits its generalisability, it attempts to provide insight into what goal-oriented processes in music therapy might include, encouraging other music therapists to consider how they utilise goals in their own practice.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Music Therapy

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Music Therapy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

New Zealand School of Music


Hoskyns, Sarah